Travel Advice for Families: How to Incorporate Real-Life Lessons
One thing families can do when traveling is incorporate real-life lessons about their vacation spot into their plans. Showing kids how what they’re learning in school applies to their trip will help them to appreciate the lessons they are learning in the classroom a little more.
1. Geography and Maps
While you may rely on a navigation app or GPS system to get to your family vacation destination, don’t be afraid to purchase some paper maps and let your kids highlight possible routes. Perhaps they will find a more scenic or fun route than your technology suggests, or perhaps they could use the paper maps to choose the best route suggested by your app. Either way, giving kids hands-on experience with the maps will help them to learn the lay of the land and understand direction, geography, and more.
You could make it a competition and assign your kids the task of choosing the route they think your family should take. They then would present their choice to the family via a persuasive presentation and the family could vote on the route to take. They could get as creative as they’d like, with props, music, a presentation app, etc. The possibilities are endless!
2. Historical Sites
You may know where you are traveling with your family, but you may not know all that the area has to offer in terms of historical significance. Give your kids some time to research your destination ahead of the trip, or make the long car or plane ride go a little faster by having them conduct research on the road. They may find that your vacation spot has a rich history or cultural significance.
If you’re really brave, let the kids pick where you travel. It would be especially meaningful if you and your family would visit sites that your kids will be learning about at school. For example, elementary kids typically learn about Gettysburg, and that would be a perfect destination for a family trip.
3. Real Estate and Economics
Sometimes, kids have difficulty understanding the expense of a family vacation. Savvy parents can incorporate real estate and economics lessons into the trip so the kids have a better idea of exactly why the beach house, hotel, or cabin costs as much to rent as it does. They also could research the restaurants, attractions, and accommodations in the area and determine which are the best value for the family.
If you have older kids, you could ask them to design a fictional home or rental property for your destination and try to sell the home to the family. They would have to know the area, the reasons people would want to rent or live there, and the type of home that best suits the area. This activity would incorporate several STEM concepts, which are becoming increasingly important in education today.
Museums are a wonderful option for an educational family trip. Depending on your kids’ interests and lessons in school, you may want to visit an art museum, such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, or the Art Institute of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois. If your children have varied interests and are at various stages of learning, the Smithsonian is probably your best destination in the United States, as it includes 17 museums and the National Zoo in the Washington, DC, metro area. The Smithsonian has a little something for everyone, with its Air and Space Museum, American Art Museum, American History Museum, Natural History Museum, and so much more.
Incorporating real-life lessons into your family vacation is a fantastic way to help your kids apply the learning they already have experienced and to prepare for lessons at school. You can get as creative as you’d like with your real-life lessons to help kids appreciate their education even when they are outside of the classroom.
Jenny Wise is a stay-at-home mom and home educator. She and her husband decided to homeschool when their oldest was four years old. During their journey, they’ve expanded their family and have face many challenges. But they’re happy to have overcome each one. Jenny writes about her family’s experiences and homeschool, in general, on her new blog, SpecialHomeEducator.com.